Heritage: Standing on the fertile farmland of the Cawdor Estate, the Royal Brackla Distillery was established in 1812 by the fiery Captain William Fraser who returned to the family farm after military service and took advantage of the fine barley it grew. Within 25 years, his distillery’s reputation for spirit of sterling taste received its crowning moment when King William IV bestowed ‘Royal’ status to Brackla, in 1835. Thus, it became the first ever Scotch to garner a royal warrant, a revelation that led to its nickname: ‘The King’s Own Whisky.’
Traditional production techniques help protect a distilling heritage that spans more than two centuries and preserves the unparalleled quality of a rather special spirit. To allow for the development of intriguing complexity and fruitiness, extra time is taken at the fermentation stage, which acts for up to 80 hours; far longer than most Scottish distilleries. Due to tall stills that run at a slow pace, the spirit has a long contact time with the copper, imparting delicate and lightly perfumed notes of grass and green foliage alongside inviting fruity aromas. Royal Brackla is finished in premium first-fill sherry casks, enriching it with notes of muscovado sweetness and dates, alongside opulent walnuts.
On the nose: Welcoming, sweet notes of pineapple, followed by roasted oats, barley and toffee apple are multisensory. Notes of a zesty nature, as well as butterscotch, cinnamon and anise closely follow these. There is a lovely floral, herbaceous note wafting around in there, alongside apricots, raisins and a light waxy note.
On the palate: There is a lovely initial taste of crème brûlée, followed by toffee, pineapple and those toasted oats. That butterscotch note is ever-present, alongside flavors of vanilla, nutmeg, a hint of almonds and a welcome salty note, which is nicely finished with the slightest meaty note.
The finish: It is medium, zesty, with lingering toffee and light spices.
The verdict: The 16-year-old Royal Brackla is a delightful dram, and has plenty of lovely notes, but it does require a bit of time before these become apparent. It is an impressive Scotch, but it is a lot lighter on the palate than I anticipated—I was still pleasantly surprised. In my honest opinion, at 16 years, this scotch really doesn’t require any water, but just time to breathe to so you can fully enjoy the notes offered.
Info: ABV 40 percent in a 70-centiliter bottle.
Showcasing Omega’s heritage: Omega introduced quite a few impressive timepieces this year at Baselworld, but not many of us would have seen the coming of new timepiece, the Globemaster, which takes design cues from the Constellation range. I am a massive fan of the Omega Constellation from the ‘50s and ‘60s, and the Globemaster has a perfect balance of historical elements in a contemporary package. And to add to that, the Globemaster is the first timepiece from Omega to feature a METAS-certified movement.
The first things you’ll notice about the new Globemaster are two design features that define its character: its dial, which is created in a style that collectors refer to as a pie-pan dial, and the fluted bezel, which may seem like an unusual design element for Omega, but it has adorned on several famous Constellation watches from the late ‘60s. The 39-millimeter case is brushed, which is a nice touch, and downplays the Globemaster luxurious appearance. The lugs feature two polished bevels, which tie the finish of the bezel to the case
Inside is the Co-Axial Master Chronometer caliber 8900/8901. On the case is a decorative medallion made of the same material as the case, which has been set into the glass before the glass is fastened to the caseback with four screws. The medallion is stamped with an image of an observatory surrounded by a polished sky marked with eight symbolic stars, similar to those seen on early Constellation models giving a subtle nod to Omega’s heritage.